It’s Mental Health Awareness Week! 18-24 May 2020
Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week aims to get us all talking about mental health – and to access support if you need it. This year the theme is kindness.
It’s now more important than ever to look after our mental health, and help our friends, family and colleagues who may be struggling. Protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mental health can affect anyone, at any time. Talking about and raising awareness of mental health issues and support available is everyone’s business.
Kindness is already overflowing in at this time. We have seen it in the many donations that we continue to receive at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, the kindness of all of our staff towards each other and every patient, and the mutual aid groups responding to local and national needs. We want that kindness to spread further across Cumbria.
Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. People who are kind and compassionate also see clear benefits to their wellbeing and happiness! They may even live longer. Kindness can also help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.
We all have so much going on in our lives - including competing strains and stresses – not to mention the current coronavirus pandemic. This can see kindness pushed to one side. But if we take the time to be kind to other people, we can reap the emotional dividends. It can really make a difference and especially for people who are vulnerable or struggling.
Despite things being a bit different this year, there are still lots of ways for you to get involved and spread some kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week. Not just to others, be kind to yourself too. Why don’t you get involved with random acts of kindness and make kindness the norm – no act is too small! Kindness can create positive change to support your mental health and the mental health of others. You could:
- Send a text to a friend who might be struggling
- Tell someone that you are proud of them
- Be kind to yourself by taking some time out each day for yourself
- Arrange to watch a film at the same time as a friend and video call
- Send a joke to cheer someone up
- Tell a family member how much you love them
- Contact someone you haven’t heard from in a while
- Send a photo to your family to show what you have been up to
- Think of something you can do to improve your wellbeing - could you improve your diet, sleep or exercise?
- Check in safely with a neighbour who is isolated or shielding.
Why not pick three from the list? Small acts of kindness can make a bit difference.
For more information to support the mental health or yourself and people you know, visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/.
Get support if you need it. If you are struggling, or you're worried about someone you know - help is available. You're not alone; talk to someone you trust. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.
The Access Liaison Integrated Service on 0300 123 9015 (for those in need of urgent help with their mental health, available 24/7).
First Step on 0300 123 9122 for referrals to the psychological wellbeing service in North Cumbria.
The North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network website - http://www.stopsuicidenenc.org/ hosts lots of help and advice about mental wellbeing, support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts, and guidance for those sadly bereaved by suicide.
These free helplines are there to help when you're feeling down or desperate.
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Call 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason.
Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
If you find it difficult to talk to someone you know:
- call your GP – ask for an emergency appointment
- call 111 – they will help you find the support and help you need.
People can also seek help from the NHS if they need it: https://www.cntw.nhs.uk/news/the-nhs-is-here-to-support-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/